Baishakh is important not only for its harvesting nature but also young people celebrate this day with the determination for doing something new. Students from different places talks to New Age Youth about their feelings towards this first month of Bangla calendar.
What does Baishakh mean to you?
Nayem Sinha, Age 25, Pathshala South Asian Media Institute
I spent my childhood in a middle-class muslim family of old Dhaka, where Pohela Baishakh means Halkhata. I can also remember baishakhi fair, sweets, panta- ilish and traditional attires all around. In the first day of Baishakh, waking up with the sound of children’s toy named Tomtom I used to get ready for the whole day. This day was the day of celebration with all of my friends, no matter which religion he abides by. We distributed sweets of Halkhata to our neighbour houses in this day. We never need Pepsi or Coca-cola to celebrate this day or any compulsory Mongol Shovajatra. To me, pohela Baishakh is a day for uttering the challenge against the corporate capital and commercialization. I also wish for women-friendly celebration of pohela baishakh.
Taki Mantasha Shithi, Age 21, University of Asia Pacific
Basically, Baishakh is the first day of the Bangla calendar, celebrated in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, and in Bengali communities of Assam, Tripura and Odisha and many other parts of India. It coincides with the New Year’s Days of numerous Southern Asian calendars. But for me, Baishakh reminds us that we are Bangali. Baishakh reminds us that we are the citizens of a country which is based on lots of precious recourses. It also defines Bangladeshi culture as well. We can experience the test of “Panta-ilish”at “Romna Botmul”. White Sari reminds us how peaceful our nature is and flower that we set on our hair defines the beautifulness of Bengali girls. People experience unique stuffs such as reshmi churi, tip etc. Beside these, people ride on Nagordola and kids are mesmerized after seeing all the wooden toys at baishakhi fair. Baishakh describes how beautiful our culture is. And so that should remain beautiful forever.
Saria Saoman, Age 24, Jahangirnagar University
The word “pahela baishakh” itself creates a reminiscence of memories in my mind. This celebration of the Bangla new year has always been special to me from the very beginning than the other occasions of the year. When I was young, on the very day I used to visit the baishakhi fair with my parents and that was the best part of my celebration. The “nagordola” rides, watching “putul nach”, buying colorful bangles, having different kind of sweets and “batasha”- ah! Those things were just heavenly. With the course of time, things have changed but the feelings and appeal towards this occasion remained the same. Now I celebrate this day by dressing me up in traditional attire, attending the “mongol shovajatra” and then spending time with family and friends. This very occasion is so close to my heart because it helps me to connect with my origin, with my culture as a Bangali. Most of the festivals in Bangladesh are based on either nationality or religion, but this occasion goes beyond all boundaries and connects the people of the same culture heart-to-heart. It goes on exceeding boundaries of religion and classes and that is what I love the most about it.
Saidur Rahman Setu, Age 24, National University
Due to my father’s job nature, I spent my whole school life in several rural areas of Rangpur, Dinazpur and Kurigram. I only could attend a Baoshakhi fair in Dinazpur. But my family celebrated this day at home! Ilish (Hilsha) was an obvious item for us that day. Most importantly, I got a new panjabi.I had little knowledge about the background of this day, but this could not hinder my joy and excitement at all.
Gradually, I came to know that some people in our country are against of Baishakhi celebration. They use some unacceptable religious interpretation in favour of their stand point. Sometimes they become violent. We experienced the bomb blasting at Ramna Botomul, we also experienced sexual harassment in 2015 when the whole nation were celebrating this glorious day. But, no matter what happened, Baishakh will be thriving because it is rooted deeply in every Bangali’s heart. Mongol Shovajatra is not for any specific religion. We have to be brave enough to ignore those browbeates and have to move forward.